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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 249-263
 Header Item Speech and Language Therapy
 Header Item Medical Card Applications
 Header Item Health Services Staff
 Header Item Medical Card Administration
 Header Item Home Care Packages Provision
 Header Item Emergency Departments Waiting Times
 Header Item Health Services Expenditure
 Header Item Health Services
 Header Item National Children's Hospital
 Header Item Primary Care Centres Data
 Header Item Medical Card Administration
 Header Item Health Services Provision
 Header Item Medical Card Applications Data
 Header Item Medical Card Applications Data
 Header Item Community Care

Thursday, 2 June 2016

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 911 No. 3

First Page Previous Page Page of 60 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 249-263

Speech and Language Therapy

 249. Deputy Gerry Adams Information on Gerry Adams Zoom on Gerry Adams asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris the staffing levels in place for speech and language therapy services, the number of vacant positions and the length of time these have been vacant; the measures he will put in place to provide a proper service; the number of children, including the number who are awaiting occupational therapy assessments and early intervention services by community health organisation region in County Mayo; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [14139/16]

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris As this is a service issue, this question has been referred to the Health Service Executive for direct reply to the Deputy. If you have not received a reply from the HSE within 15 working days, please contact my Private Office and they will follow up the matter with them.

Medical Card Applications

 250. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae Information on Michael Healy-Rae Zoom on Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris the status of an application by a person (details supplied) under the medical card scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14166/16]

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris The Health Service Executive has been asked to examine this matter and to reply to the Deputy as soon as possible.

The Health Service Executive operates the General Medical Services scheme, which includes medical cards and GP visit cards, under the Health Act 1970, as amended. It has established a dedicated contact service for members of the Oireachtas specifically for queries relating to medical cards and GP visit cards, which the Deputy may wish to use for an earlier response. Contact information has recently issued to Oireachtas members.

If the Deputy has not received a reply from the HSE within 15 working days, please contact my Private Office who will follow up the matter with them.

Health Services Staff

 251. Deputy Charlie McConalogue Information on Charlie McConalogue Zoom on Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris his plans to implement the national transfer policy for non-rostered paramedics (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14181/16]

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris As this is a service matter, I have asked the HSE to respond to you directly. If you have not received a reply from the HSE within 15 working days please contact my Private Office and my officials will follow the matter up.

Medical Card Administration

 252. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris why a person (details supplied) received a renewal under the medical card scheme which was due to expire in September 2016; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14194/16]

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris The Health Service Executive has been asked to examine this matter and to reply to the Deputy as soon as possible.

The Health Service Executive operates the General Medical Services scheme, which includes medical cards and GP visit cards, under the Health Act 1970, as amended. It has established a dedicated contact service for members of the Oireachtas specifically for queries relating to medical cards and GP visit cards, which the Deputy may wish to use for an earlier response. Contact information has recently issued to Oireachtas members.

If the Deputy has not received a reply from the HSE within 15 working days, please contact my Private Office who will follow up the matter with them.

Home Care Packages Provision

 253. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris if, and when, he will approve a person (details supplied) under the home care package scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14198/16]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Helen McEntee): Information on Helen McEntee Zoom on Helen McEntee As this is a service matter it has been referred to the Health Service Executive for direct reply. If you have not received a reply from the HSE within 15 working days please contact my Private Office and they will follow up the matter with them.

Emergency Departments Waiting Times

 254. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris if he has examined and how he will address the ongoing issue of long waiting lists at accident and emergency departments; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14202/16]

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris Pressures on EDs have been rising, as the population is both growing and ageing. However, 2015 and 2016 have seen increases in the Health Budget, with investments in capital expansion and the implementation of measures designed to tackle overcrowding in EDs.

It is important to note that patient experience times have improved in April 2016, with 67.6% of patients being admitted or discharged within 6 hours and 81.7% within 9 hours.

In June 2015, €18m of additional funding was made available under the 2015/16 Winter Additional Capacity Initiative. As a result, 366 new or re-opened beds have been made available to date.

Extended access to GP care and an expansion in services offered by GPs such as treatment for chronically ill patients, can help to reduce ED pressure. There are currently 50 locations where primary care infrastructure is under construction, or, at an advanced planning stage.

I attended the ED Taskforce Implementation Group meeting on Monday, which continues to be focussed on driving improved ED performance, achieving an integrated approach across Acute Hospitals, Primary Care and Social Care to the challenge of ED overcrowding. At the meeting the Taskforce agreed to adopt a two-year approach to winter planning, and commence planning for Winters in 2016 and 2017.

Capital expansion is also ongoing. New EDs are open at the Mater Hospital in Dublin and in Wexford General Hospital. The Programme for a Partnership Government has committed to progress new ED facilities for University Hospital Galway and Beaumont Hospital, Dublin.

A review of bed capacity in our health service, coupled with the review of the hours of service of Medical Assessment Units, are further key commitments in the Programme for Government that are intended to alleviate ED overcrowding.

These increases in the health budget, measures to increase bed capacity, along with new ED facilities and maximising the potential of units and services to treat patients outside of the hospital setting will all contribute to improving ED waiting times for patients.

Health Services Expenditure

 255. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris if he is aware of reports that investment in capital and current support in the public health services appears to be greater than that in adjoining jurisdictions; if he has examined this to determine if he is achieving best comparable results or how he can do so; if he has identified anything in other jurisdictions that can be applied to ensure the best results; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14203/16]

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris I am aware that a recent staff European Commission Staff working document indicated higher levels of current health expenditure for Ireland (as a percentage of GNI) than the EU average in 2013. The staff working document used Eurostat data, which in turn was based on country submissions based on the new System of Health Accounts classification system. Ireland submitted 2013 data on this new basis for the first time in 2015.

My Department is currently examining the implications of this new classification system for health accounts and the lessons that can be learned from international comparisons in this context. In this work, my department has engaged with the HSE.

All of the recent international comparisons that I am aware of suggest that Ireland's level of capital investment is below international average levels.

Health Services

 256. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris if a focused and strategic examination of the delivery of the public health services can identify best practice in service delivery; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14204/16]

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris The focused and strategic examination of the delivery of the public health services is ongoing. Reform is required across and between primary, social and acute care but it is also important to think on a whole system basis in terms of strategic enablers of reform. These include organisational structures, workforce planning, better ICT systems, improved financial models and stronger leadership and management capability. These whole system functions are critical and can be core drivers of better, more integrated and more efficient services.

  With these strategic reforms in mind, the planning and management of future health expenditure will be considered as part of the annual estimates and budgetary process which seeks to balance available funding across all of the various service areas to achieve the best possible outcomes for the greatest number of service users and prioritise areas of greatest need.

  One of the key proposals in the Programme for Government is the establishment of an Oireachtas Committee to develop cross-party consensus on the future of the health service. I believe the health service would benefit enormously from a single unifying vision that we can all get behind and that can help to drive reform and development of the system over the next 10 years.

  I am pleased that the House has agreed to move ahead quickly to establish this committee and to get it up and running in the coming weeks.

National Children's Hospital

 257. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris if the provision of the new children's hospital is progressing satisfactorily; if it will be provided on schedule; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14205/16]

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris The previous Government's decision to locate the new children's hospital at the St James's campus was based on the over-riding priority of best clinical outcomes for our children and, in particular, the sickest of these. That decision is unequivocally supported by this Government and by me as Minister. The planned new facilities will provide us with the means to deliver on improved health outcomes for children, especially the sickest children in Ireland. I am delighted at the unanimous decision of An Bord Pleanála to grant planning permission for these vital new facilities as designed.

The National Paediatric Hospital Development Board (NPHDB) is the statutory body responsible for planning, designing, building and equipping the new children's hospital. The NPHDB has commenced the tender process for enabling works contractors for the St James’s site and tender returns have been received. It is expected that the enabling works contractor will be appointed in the coming weeks, for commencement on site in July. It is expected that the satellite centres can open in 2018, significantly enhancing access to urgent care and outpatient services for children from the Greater Dublin Area. Building work on the main site will be completed in 2020.

Primary Care Centres Data

 258. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris if he has evaluated the impact of new primary care centres and in particular alleviating overcrowding at accident and emergency departments in hospitals, given the number of minor procedures undertaken by these centres that were previously the responsibility of general hospitals; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14206/16]

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris An evaluation of the impact of new Primary Care Centres on hospital Accident and Emergency Departments has not been undertaken by the Department.

However, I can advise the Deputy that there are a range of initiatives and services provided in a primary care setting which are intended to prevent unnecessary hospital admission or attendance and to facilitate early discharge of patients. These initiatives include implementation of the Community Intervention Teams (CITs), Outpatient Parenteral Antimicrobial Therapy (OPAT), Ultrasound Diagnostics and the GP Minor Surgery Pilot Initiative.

Medical Card Administration

 259. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris if he can streamline the processing of applications, in particular of renewals where the applicant's financial position has not changed, under the medical card scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14207/16]

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris The Health Service Executive has been asked to examine this matter and to reply to the Deputy as soon as possible.

The Health Service Executive operates the General Medical Services scheme, which includes medical cards and GP visit cards, under the Health Act 1970, as amended. It has established a dedicated contact service for members of the Oireachtas specifically for queries relating to medical cards and GP visit cards, which the Deputy may wish to use for an earlier response. Contact information has recently issued to Oireachtas members.

If the Deputy has not received a reply from the HSE within 15 working days, please contact my Private Office who will follow up the matter with them.

Health Services Provision

 260. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris if, and when, he will approve a post-operative procedure for a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14208/16]

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris The Deputy's question relates to service delivery matters and accordingly I have asked the HSE to respond directly to him.

  If you have not received a reply from the HSE within 15 working days please contact my Private Office and my officials will follow up the matter with them.

Medical Card Applications Data

 261. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris the number of applications and applications for renewal received and the number granted and refused, in each of the last 12 months, under the medical card scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14209/16]

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris The Health Service Executive has been asked to examine this matter and to reply to the Deputy as soon as possible.

The Health Service Executive operates the General Medical Services scheme, which includes medical cards and GP visit cards, under the Health Act 1970, as amended. It has established a dedicated contact service for members of the Oireachtas specifically for queries relating to medical cards and GP visit cards, which the Deputy may wish to use for an earlier response. Contact information has recently issued to Oireachtas members.

If the Deputy has not received a reply from the HSE within 15 working days, please contact my Private Office who will follow up the matter with them.

Medical Card Applications Data

 262. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris the number of applications for discretionary medical card which are being approved and rejected; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14210/16]

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris The Health Service Executive has been asked to examine this matter and to reply to the Deputy as soon as possible.

The Health Service Executive operates the General Medical Services scheme, which includes medical cards and GP visit cards, under the Health Act 1970, as amended. It has established a dedicated contact service for members of the Oireachtas specifically for queries relating to medical cards and GP visit cards, which the Deputy may wish to use for an earlier response. Contact information has recently issued to Oireachtas members.

If the Deputy has not received a reply from the HSE within 15 working days, please contact my Private Office who will follow up the matter with them.

Community Care

 263. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris if he is enhancing and improving community care facilities; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14211/16]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Helen McEntee): Information on Helen McEntee Zoom on Helen McEntee Public Nursing Units are an essential part of our national nursing home infrastructure. They provide 5,000 long stay residential care beds i.e. approximately 20% of the total stock of nursing home beds. They also provide about 2,000 short stay beds. €385 million in capital funding has been secured for a programme for the replacement and refurbishment of public nursing homes across the country over the next five years which will consolidate our existing public stock and is expected to provide 250 additional beds.

  A full list of facilities which will be replaced or refurbished is available on the Department's website at http://health.gov.ie/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/90-facilities1.pdf .


Last Updated: 06/11/2017 15:00:30 First Page Previous Page Page of 60 Next Page Last Page